Jill and Garys story
We have been watching these Barn Owls in our back field for three and a half years now. First they were in a palm tree directly behind our house. They had two owlets fledge. Later, neighbors cut down the tree. Next, they moved to the palm tree to the south of our yard. That summer we got a really windy day and 5 babies fell out and died before we found them. Two survived and fledged. That is when we put up an owl box on a pole. I think they did not use it as they were already established in the tree. This last summer 2010, four babies fell and died. We knew there was one remaining baby in the nest because we could hear it in the tree, so every single night we went outside to watch the parents bring it food. One night, we saw Willow fly straight to the ground at dusk. We walked out into the field and there was the baby on the ground. At the time, we did not know that owls can climb back up into the tree. We also knew there was a neighborhood cat and coyotes that prowl the field, so Gary ran and got gloves and picked it up. We put him in our yard trying to figure out what to do! He was so ready to fly but was not able to gain the height needed. Meanwhile, Bear Grylls and Willow were watching from the neighbor’s roof next door. We decided to let them help the baby (at least he wasn't in the field with the coyotes). The next morning we woke up to find him at our back door! There was a half of a gopher in the yard, so we knew the parents fed him that night. We knew we couldn't just leave him there, so we put him in our garden shed and removed the back window. He slept on the cot in there all day! We positioned a camera in the window and watched the parents bring him food that night. The next night he climbed out the window and was miraculously in his own tree the next morning! He stayed in the nest about 3 days and then started taking practice flights from palm tree to palm tree. He would often fly too low and have to climb up the tree trunk to get high enough to do it again. We stood watching quietly in our yard, inwardly cheering him on as he got better and better! We almost cried when he mastered flying. He continued to beg loudly for food for another month and then he was gone! Now I cried.
Bear Grylls and Willow continued to live in that tree until about 2 months ago, when huge chunks of palm fronds fell out of the tree, exposing the nice perch they used for their nest. Now that it was uninhabitable, they moved to the palm tree on the north side of our house. That is when we built the owl box from the Hungry Owl Project's plans because it was apparent they weren't going to use the one we had on a pole (plus we wanted to double our chances!) Now while Bear Grylls would hang out in the palm tree, he could not miss the new box.... it was right in front of him. We could hear them mating in the tree so I was sure they had already chosen their new site and wouldn't move. But we got some heavy rains that soaked their palm tree and I think that beautiful new box nestled in the pine tree was looking pretty warm and cozy because one morning four days after Christmas we woke up to find the two of them snugly sleeping inside . One week later, they had their first egg!
Although extremely grateful that we had barn owls living on both sides of our house, I prayed for owls to come live in our box! So I give God the glory for these owls! They are His creatures anyways!
Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Due to the fact that we found a gopher and a rabbit in the old box this morning, we are assuming that your plan to start a second clutch is imminent. A new and improved residence
complete with personalized home decor has been provided you. To assist you in your move ( much like you assisted little Elf when you knocked him off his perch) we have removed your front door to the old box hoping this will encourage you to make the transition! Thank you for your understanding! Your Landlords, Gary and Jill
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Dear Elf, When you hatched you were the last of eight eggs and weren't expected to make it. I woke up every morning and hurried to the computer to see if you were still here. I remember you boldly grabbing the first treat of the night and running with it underneath Noelle! When I watched you try to drag a rabbit twice your size I knew you meant business and that you were going to make it! When we rescued you from our backyard and got to be upclose to you meant so much to me. You were beautiful! You weren't even that afraid of us. I think you knew that you could trust us! You were brave when Gary climbed 16 feet up the ladder with you to put you back into the box. Last night when Bear knocked you out of the tree we knew he meant well; he just knew it was time for you to learn to fly and be on your own soon. You were a trooper though! We watched you through the window pretend as though you wanted to be on the fence all along! To see you take your first flight took my breath away. I was so proud. I know now that I may only have a few more days with you. You will soon learn to soar silently through the night. You will find a mate and have owlets of your own. I wonder if you know how many hearts you touched? Some would say you are just an owl. I say you are my gift from God. Please be safe and come visit often. Maybe someday one of your owlets will stay in our bathroom! Thank you for the wonderful memories. You will be in my heart forever. I love you little Elf! Jill